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Explore Highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur

Del Monte Forest, California

based on 18 reviews


Added by Blake Maitoza

Explore the scenic highlights from Highway 1 as you head down the coast from Carmel to Big Sur.

Being from the Central Coast, every time I visit the area I like to do the same trip - Simply because it is amazing. The trip starts along 17 mile drive located in Carmel. From the road, you see the Central Coast icon, the Lone Cypress. Being one of the most photographed trees in North America, it is truly an incredible site to see. This Monterey Cypress has been standing on the granite cliff for over 250 years. Also along this 17 mile stretch, you come across one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach.

After the 17 mile drive, continue on the beautiful Highway 1, southbound to Big Sur, and be sure to stop at an amazing unmarked beach. You will continue for about 20 miles until you come to the Garrapata Creek Bridge where you will see parking as well as a few trails. These trails lead you to a secluded beach where you can get away from the crowds. If you come to this spot early spring, Calla Lilies bloom all around the trail; this is a photographers dream.

After plenty of time spent at this secluded beach, the next stop is the Big Sur River Inn . On the way to the Rivers Inn you will cross the historic Bixby Bridge. Built in 1932, Bixby Bridge is a truly jaw dropping site to see, and you won't be able to help yourself from spending countless minutes starring at it. Once you finally decide to get moving again, you will find the restaurant, Big Sur River Inn Restaurant, which is perfect for the family. What makes this spot unique is they have furniture located directly in the river! Enjoying a meal or a drink in the middle of the river is a truly relaxing experience.

After having a nice meal on the river, you should stretch your legs and do a little hiking. The next stop, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, showcases the most beautiful cove on the West Coast. When you arrive at the park you will see signs to McWay Falls, this is the way you need to go! After a short hike you will come to a viewing platform of the incredible 80-foot waterfall that flows year round directly into the Pacific Ocean. The best way to view this spot is during sunset, so try to plan this adventure so you end up here at the end of the day.

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Explore Highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur Reviews

If you’ve never done this drive, definitely make a point to spend some time and go out of the way and do this route. So beautiful and a picture perfect reason why they say California has one of the best views of the Pacific Ocean. The roads can be windy, so watch your speed and be mindful of the others on the road. You’ll be tempted to want to stop at every curve because of the fantastic views!

This drive is a must in northern california, especially if you live in the bay. There are so many amazing views at almost every turnout

This road has to be driven to be believed. The mountains crash into the Pacific oceans. Also, Canyons, Pine Forests, Redwood Groves, Waterfalls, Tide Pools, it goes on and on the adventures that can be had along the PCH.

Would highly recommend doing this drive! Go even further south, too, to get a full feel for California as other sections cut through farms and other geographies

Big Sur is arguably the most beautiful place in all of California! And Hwy is definitely the way to see it!

I love Hwy 1!!!! One of my favorite places in the world! Monterey or Carmel is where I hope to move and/or retire someday. So many beautiful beaches. Not as busy as other parts of CA on the coast. This drive offers breathtaking scenery, charming towns, and lots of options for pull offs with hikes, beaches, photography options, and so much more!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


17-Mile Drive to Carmel Road Ride

Catch a Sunset at Carmel Beach

Relax at Spanish Bay

Surf Carmel River State Beach

Hike along the Carmel River Beach Trail

Whalers Cove Loop